Poll: Obama Retakes Lead Over McCain

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In a sign that John McCain's convention bounce has dissipated, Barack Obama has taken a 48 percent to 43 percent lead over his Republican rival among registered voters in the latest CBS News/New York Times poll.

McCain had a two percentage point lead among registered voters in a poll released on September 8th, just after the Republican National Convention. Prior to the party conventions, Obama led McCain by 3 points.

In the new poll, the gap among likely voters is the same as it is among registered voters: Obama leads among those seen as likely to go to the polls in November 49 percent to 44 percent.

This race remains up for grabs. One-fourth of the electorate is now uncommitted, meaning they say they could still change their minds about their candidate or remain undecided entirely. Roughly twenty percent of both McCain and Obama supporters say they have not yet settled definitively on their chosen candidate.

Read The Complete Poll:
The Presidential Race
The Candidates For Vice President
The Economy, Iraq And The Campaign

Though McCain's supporters have become more enthusiastic about the Republican nominee, he still suffers from an enthusiasm gap. Sixty-one percent of Obama supporters are enthusiastic about their candidate, up eight points from last week's poll; forty-seven percent say the same of McCain, up five points from last week.

Obama's advantage can be traced in part to independents, who favored Obama in late August, swung to McCain just after the Republican convention, and have now returned to Obama. Obama now leads McCain among independents 46 percent to 41 percent.

Obama now also leads McCain among women, a group that favored McCain by five points in polling taken just after the Republican convention, where Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin became the second woman ever to be nominated to a major party ticket.

Obama leads McCain 54 percent to 38 percent among all women. He holds a two point edge among white women, a 21 percentage point swing in Obama's direction from one week ago.

The Candidates For Vice President:

While Palin remains popular among McCain voters, the poll suggests that the McCain campaign may have cause for concern. More than half of registered voters do not think Palin is prepared for the job of Vice President, and even McCain supporters cite "inexperience" as what they like least about her.

Just 17 percent of registered voters say McCain chose Palin because she is well qualified for the job of Vice President. Seventy-five percent say McCain made the choice to help win the election. (Even voters backing the Republican ticket share this view: 53 percent say the Palin choice was to help McCain win in November.)

Contrast that with the perception of Obama's selection of Delaware Sen. Joe Biden as running mate: 57 percent of registered voters say Obama chose Biden because he is well qualified. Thirty-one percent say the choice was to help with the election.

Nonetheless, McCain supporters are far more enthusiastic about Palin than Obama supporters are about Biden. Sixty-nine percent of McCain voters - including 78 percent of white evangelical McCain backers - describe themselves as "enthusiastic" about Palin. Just 27 percent of Obama supporters are "enthusiastic" about Biden, though an additional 58 percent say they are "satisfied" with the Democratic vice presidential nominee.

Palin's favorable rating stands at 40 percent, down 4 points from last week. Her unfavorable rating, which stands at 30 percent, has risen eight points in the same time period. Her favorable rating among women has fallen 11 points in the past week.

Biden is viewed favorably by 38 percent of registered voters. Seventeen percent view the Delaware senator unfavorably, a decrease of 5 points from last week.

Nearly 3 in 4 voters say Biden is prepared to be vice president; just 42 percent say Palin is prepared for the job, down 5 points from last week. But Palin is seen as the more relatable of the two: 55 percent of registered voters say she is someone they can relate to, while 43 percent say the same of Biden.

Asked what they like most about Biden, registered voters cited experience (15 percent), followed by "honesty" (6 percent), "outspoken" and "foreign policy" (5 points each). Asked the same question about Palin, the top two choices were "outspoken" and "woman" (7 percent each), followed by "fresh face" and "tough/fighter" (5 points each).

Asked what they liked least about the candidates, the top response for Biden, at 8 percent, was "too many gaffes." The top response for Palin, at 15 percent, was inexperience.

Voters who supported Hillary Clinton in the primaries are not fully embracing the new woman in the race. Forty-eight percent of Clinton voters say they have an unfavorable view of Palin, while 20 percent view her positively.

Still, one in four registered voters who were Clinton supporters in the primary say they plan to support the McCain-Palin ticket in November.
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